A child’s manners and behavior can affect his or her social development. Therefore, parents should start teaching their child proper behavior from an early age. Teaching your child how to behave appropriately is just as essential as teaching them how to read and write. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait until your child is in school to start instilling good behavioral patterns. Using these guidelines, your child will be well on their way to functioning successfully as an adult.
- Lead by example. Children tend to learn by example. Consequently, parents play an integral role in showing their children the right and wrong way to behave. Good habits can be picked up just as easily as bad ones. Try modeling good behavior in front of your child as much as possible.
- Set the rules. Setting clear rules is imperative to every household. In order to behave properly, a child needs to recognize what bad behavior is. Children as young as three years old can understand simple rules such as “no touching” or “no yelling”. If your toddler is doing something inappropriate, let him or her know that such behavior isn’t acceptable. Are they knocking their silverware around and refusing to eat? If so, ask them to stop. If his or her behavior continues, excuse them from the table (see 5).
- Use positive reinforcement. The reward system can work like a charm. Reinforce good behavior with treats, presents, compliments, or something simple like a high-five or “good job”. In addition, use rewards as a motivational tool to keep your children from misbehaving throughout the rest of the week. Offer them a special treat on the weekend only if they are able to follow the rules throughout the week.
- Make it fun. To make modeling good behavior fun, consider every opportunity as a learning experience for your child. In a given scenario, display the proper way to behave then have your child emulate your actions. You can implement this method when teaching your child how to treat others respectfully, share with others.
- Discipline when necessary. When your child isn’t behaving and refuses to listen to your requests for compliance, discipline them appropriately. Putting your foot down means having to deal with defiance at times. Don’t be afraid to discipline your child if they are acting inappropriately. Send them to a designated time out spot until they can come back and behave properly. This teaches them that their actions have consequences.
- Be consistent. “If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.” If you let your child get away with bad behavior once or twice, they will become used to not facing repercussions. Consistency is important. As long as you make it a habit in the household and keep reinforcing and rewarding good behavior, bad behavior will lessen overtime.
If your child is developing unhealthy behavioral patterns you’re concerned about, schedule an appointment with one of our Oviedo Pediatricians at Family First Pediatrics. Visit our website or call us today at (407) 335-4760.
Image courtesy of StarsApart @ Flickr
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic @ Freedigitalphotos.net